Yokohama IR bid in doubt as mayoral candidates reject casinos

Hachiro Okonogi will be the Liberal Democratic Party candidate in Yokohama.
Hachiro Okonogi will be the Liberal Democratic Party candidate in Yokohama.

Hachiro Okonogi, the candidate for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has confirmed he will bring a halt to Yokohama’s IR bid if he’s elected.

Japan.- Yokohama’s bid to develop an integrated resort could be over after the ruling party’s candidate for mayor confirmed his opposition to the project.

Hachiro Okonogi’s opposition means that almost all likely candidatres for August’s mayoral elections are opposed to an IR.

Okonogi, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, has been chosen by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) instead of Yokohama’s current pro-IR mayor Fumiko Hayashi, who is approaching the end of her third term.

Okonogi has said: “If I do become mayor, the first thing I will do is stop the Integrated Resort plan.”

Although Okonogi is not personally opposed to the IR development, he said that he could see that residents were opposed to the city government’s plan. “We have not gained the trust of the citizens,” he said.

The cancellation of Yokohama’s IR bid would derail Genting Singapore‘s plans to enter the Japanese market.

The company recently announced a consortium with Sega SammySohgo Security Services Co., Kajima Corp., Takenaka Corp and Obayashi Corp to bid to run Yokohama’s proposed IR. Yokohama’s other IR contender is Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited.

Other anti-IR candidates for August mayoral elections

There are two other candidates who annouced they would run for the mayoral elections on specific anti-IR tickets: Masataka Ota and Akiko Fujimura.

Masataka Ota is 75 years old and a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party. He has been elected to the Yokohama City Council for 11 four-year periods since the 1970s.

Ota said: “If I become the mayor of Yokohama, the casino issue will disappear that very day. To put it plainly, I will not do casinos.”

Akiko Fujimura is the representative director of an animal welfare group. She supported current mayor Fumiko Hayashi in the 2017 election.

Fujimura said she will declare the immediate cancellation of the Yokohama IR project if she becomes mayor.

Although there’s been no official announcement, it appears that Takeharu Yamanaka may have been chosen as the candidate to represent the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Yamanaka is 48 years old and works as a professor at Yokohama City University. He specialises in public health and medical statistics and has recently been working on anti-Covid-19 countermeasures.

He’s known to disagree with the development of an integrated resort, arguing that it could cause gambling addiction.

In this article:
Genting Singapore integrated resorts Melco Resorts & Entertainment